Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I rolled up a log

Saturday Wendy was driving home from Bend with the kids.  Chad was in a silly mood, and was perhaps driving the driver a wee bit insane, so she called me and said, "Chad wants to talk to you.  Here you go!"

I played along.  "Howdy Chad!"

"Hi, Dad!  What did you do today?"

I told him "I wrote a blog." 

Cell phones are a little indistinct sometimes, and they were in a bad cell zone. He said, "I can't hear you.  What?"

"I wrote a BLOG!"  I yelled.

"You rolled up a log? What are you talking about?" 

He must have laughed for five minutes.  I waited patiently, and eventually he said, "OK - what else did you do today?"

"I rode my bike to the grocery store."

"Dad!  You Rock!  You rode your bike through the grocery store?  That's awesome!"

This was becoming a fun game.  In fact, we might be on the verge of patenting a new game for the hearing impaired.

Actually, someone made this into a game already.  It's called "Mad Gab", and I am the champion at it.  When someone verbalizes, "Stub Her Neigh Same Yule," I easily translate to, "Stubborn as a mule" and win the round.  On the other hand, if they actually say "Stubborn as a mule", I am just as likely to hear, "It's a rubber vestibule."  Chad may have this hereditary defect.

This kind of thing seems to happen to me often. 

Once, when Wendy was not feeling well, she said, "My stomach hurts. My thighs are greasy."  Only, the thighs weren't her own, they belonged to the chickens we ate for dinner an hour earlier. 

On another occasion I asked, "Need anything from the store?" 

She was happy I asked.  "Bring me some Carmex."

"What kind of corn mix?"

Less happy now.

It happened quite frequently when I lived in Japan, where they have a national shortage of sylables.  Once my host family was already in the middle of dinner when I arrived home, with only a few minutes until an appintment came.  The host mother asked me, "kuru made tabetara?" meaning "why don't you eat until they come?"  But I heard, "kuruma de tabetara?" meaning, "why don't you eat in the car?" 

I was a little offended.

This (dis?) aility may have come to me as a child when my family begain reciting the story "Ladle Rat Rotten Hut." 

Wants pawn term, dare worsted ladle gull, hoe left wetter murder honor itch offer lodge, dock florist.

Ladies and gentlemen, don't adjust your sets.  You read that correctly.  It makes perfect sense when you know how to translate it.  It is the story of "Little Red Riding Hood" and this is the first sentence: "Once upon a time, there was a little girl, who lived with her mother on the edge of a large, dark forest."

You're getting the hang of this now, arent you? 

Here's what I think.  Any future hearing loss I experience will be accompanied by an equally offsetting entertainment value, and kids will come from all over to talk with me.

"Hey, kid - I see you bought a new Toyota."

"That's right, Mister Boyack, and I hear you had a really amazing coupe."

"Yes, I did, after the Ex Lax took effect."

So after all, communication is a four part exercise.  The intended message, the actual spoken words, the actual heard words, and the interpreted meaning. 

If any one of those goes wrong, you can have a lot of fun.


debisblog said...

Ahh John! You have revived a sweet memory of my childhood... AND links to my favorite long-lost Anguish Languish stories!!! THANK YOU!!!

John Boyack said...

It's a cultural treasure, even if known to only a few!

Shar said...

remember how chad calls "hoisin pork", poisin pork. and somehow "chicken divan" turned into "throw a chicken from the van"? he's got your gift :)